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Nation’s freight railroads average 476 ton-miles-per-gallon

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) announced that the nation’s freight railroads moved a ton of freight an average of 476 miles on one gallon of fuel in 2012. Ton-miles-per-gallon is a standard measure of fuel efficiency for hauling freight much like miles-per-gallon is a standard measure of fuel efficiency for motor vehicles. Overall, freight rail fuel efficiency is up more than 100 percent since 1980. "Earth Day is the perfect time to remind everyone that the nation’s freight railroads not only haul the goods that America depends on every day, but they do so efficiently and with a fraction of the carbon footprint of other modes of transportation," said AAR President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger.  Hamberger noted a federal government study found railroads are on average four times more fuel efficient than trucks. "Railroads are moving more freight while consuming less fuel, which means we’re emitting fewer greenhouse gases and easing highway congestion,” he said. “America can save even more fuel by shipping more by rail. If just 10 percent of the long-haul freight currently moving on our crowded highways were moved by rail, annual fuel savings would equal roughly 1 billion gallons." Railroads have invested billions of dollars in thousands of new, more fuel-efficient locomotives and on overhauling older units to make them more fuel efficient. Industry research also is underway on hybrid long-haul locomotives and locomotives powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG).